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Nikhat Zareen wins gold at Women’s World Boxing Championships

India’s Nikhat Zareen was crowned world champion again after she beat Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Tam in the final of the 48-50kg light flyweight category at the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in New Delhi on Saturday. She won 5-0.

This was Nikhat’s second Worlds gold after winning gold in the 52kg category in 2022. Meanwhile, Tham’s silver was Vietnam’s best finish in Boxing World Championships history.

The bout started with Tham on the offensive, with Nikhat dancing around Tham’s punches. The first minute was marred with multiple clinches – including Tham pushing Nikhat to the floor – as both boxers tried to gain the upper hand. This resulted in the Vietnamese boxer getting an early yellow.

Tham, though, unleashed a flurry late on, with a couple of left-right combos connecting. With the Indian’s corner urging Nikhat to connect as the seconds trickled down, she went on the offensive. It appeared to be a very tight round but the judges surprisingly awarded the round to Nikhat 5-0.

Tham started the second round well, but Nikhat’s counter-attacking brilliance held her off. Nikhat then went in for an illegal clinch and was awarded a yellow card of her own.

Tham’s need for points meant she had to be open, and that let Nikhat land punch after punch, hooks to the side of Tham’s body. Tham landed a few hooks of her own on Nikhat’s face and that swayed the judges – Tham won the round 3-2.

The final round was a tight, nervous affair with multiple clinches and each boxer trading hooks to the body. Nikhat, though, connected superbly with a straight jab that led to a count from the ref for the Vietnamese boxer.

Tham returned the favour with a sensational left hook to the face that left Nikhat dazed and forced a referee count on her. Nikhat answered with a flurry of late punches. In the end, both boxers went back to their corners feeling they had done enough to win.

The judges, though, unanimously judged it in favour of Nikhat. 5-0, and she was world champion again.

In the semifinals, Nikhat had beaten Rio Olympics bronze medallist Ingrit Valencia of Colombia in the 50kg semifinal, with a measured performance.

Earlier, on Saturday, Nitu Ghanghas was crowned world champion after she beat Mongolia’s Lutsaikhan Altantsetseg in the final of the 45-48kg minimum weight category. Saweety Boora was also crowned world champion after she beat Wang Lina of China in the 75-81 kg light heavyweight category. That was India’s first ever gold in the worlds in the light heavyweight category.

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